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How Much Does a Clinical Psychologist Make?

woman psychologist talking to man
Published 04/28/2020
5 minutes read
The content of this page is only for informational purposes and is not intended, expressly or by implication, as a guarantee of employment or salary, which vary based on many factors including but not limited to education, credentials, and experience. Alliant International University explicitly makes no representations or guarantees about the accuracy of the information provided by any prospective employer or any other website. Salary information available on the internet may not reflect the typical experience of Alliant graduates. Alliant does not guarantee that any graduate will be placed with a particular employer or in any specific employment position.

Clinical psychologists treat clients who suffer from mental health issues, from mild anxiety to serious cognitive disorders. Clients range from children to elderly adults and include individuals, couples, families and other groups. These professionals assess disorders through psychological testing and counseling, and provide therapies that help clients from mental illness and to function normally. It’s an in-demand field, with job opportunities expected to increase by 8 percent between 2020 and 2030 which is the average for all occupations.1

We’ll look at the clinical psychologist job salary, including the average salaries by state and years of experience. But let’s first consider your graduate degree options in clinical psychology, and how this decision also affects your salary as a clinical psychologist.

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Clinical Psychology Education Requirements

After earning a bachelor’s in psychology degree as an undergraduate, you’ll need a doctoral degree in clinical psychology. A doctorate in this field involves rigorous course loads, and requires both a dissertation and a clinical internship. Here you have the choice between two degree programs in clinical psychology – each emphasizing a different area of the field. If clinical psychology theory and research is what interests you, pursue the doctor of philosophy (PhD) degree. But if you plan to work directly with clients in clinical practice, choose the doctor of psychology (PsyD) degree.2

Within these programs, you may specialize further based on the kinds of cases you want to handle. Although offerings will vary according to your school and program, here are some possible areas of focus:

  • Clinical health psychology
  • Family/child and couple psychology
  • Forensic psychology
  • Integrative psychology
  • Multicultural psychology
  • Psychodynamic psychology
  • Trauma, stress, resilience and health psychology

Does one doctoral degree earn you a higher salary than the other? Actually, the average salary does increase. In May 2020 the average clinical psychology salary with a PhD degree was $82,180. Meanwhile, clinical psychologists with PsyD degrees earned an average annual salary of $77,000.3

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Clinical Psychology Salary

As with any career, salaries in a particular industry vary widely from place to place. In looking at the estimated clinical psychologist salary by state, remember that a number of factors affect it. Cost of living, industry demand, education and work experience all help determine salaries in a given location. Below are 2018 salary ranges in each state for clinical, counseling and school psychologists.4 This list of states (plus the District of Columbia) is ordered from highest to lowest median salary for those professionals:


Low salary

Median salary

High salary













New York




Rhode Island




New Jersey




District of Columbia
















North Dakota
















































New Hampshire
































South Dakota








New Mexico




























North Carolina












South Carolina




























West Virginia








(Source: “Salary Finder,” CareerOneStop)

Clinical Psychology Salary by Experience

As the state-by-state salary chart shows, how much you earn working in the field of psychology can vary widely even within a single state. Part of this variance is based on how many years of experience you’ve had as a licensed clinical psychologist. Payscale reports the following average clinical psychology salaries according to work experience5:

  • Less than 1 year: $68,000
  • 1 to 4 years: $73,000
  • 5 to 9 years: $81,000
  • 10 to 19 years: $90,000
  • 20+ years: $92,000

Whether you are looking to get your master's degree or a doctorate degree, Alliant University offers a number of different programs for any future psychologist. Alliant International University can provide you the education and experience you need for licensure as a licensed clinical psychologist. Alliant’s California School of Professional Psychology (CSPP) offers APA-approved clinical psychology programs for both PhD and PsyD degrees. Request more information online or speak with an Alliant representative at (866) 825-5426 about a clinical psychology program.


1“Psychologists : Occupational Outlook Handbook,” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, October 20, 2021),….

2MELISSA DITTMANN, “What You Need to Know to Get Licensed,” American Psychological Association (American Psychological Association), accessed November 9, 2021,

3 “Doctorate in Psychology Salary: PsyD Vs. PhD,”, October 20, 2021,….

4“Clinical Psychologist Salary by State + Licensed Clinical Psychology Average Annual Pay: Psydprograms 2020,” Psy.D., September 16, 2021,

5“Average Clinical Psychologist Salary,” Average Clinical Psychologist Salary, accessed November 9, 2021,

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